Did you know that pumpkin was super food? It is!

The catch: I’m not talking about pumpkin pie, pumpkin lattes or pumpkin cheesecake. Those are yummy but they are not necessarily waistline-friendly. Sorry. ๐Ÿ™

Instead, I’m talking about plain ol’ pumpkin — generally the kind that comes in a can. Important note: not pumpkin pie filling, but instead, pumpkin puree. And if you’re feeling ambitious and feel like chopping up and cooking a fresh pumpkin have at it!

Canned organic pumpkin is regularly on my shopping list because it’s awesome. I’ve started adding it to my smoothie rotation because it makes a delicious post-workout smoothie. I’ve included the recipe at the bottom of this post — I just had a couple picky guys try it out and they liked it too.

I mean, just check out some of pumpkin’s amazing qualities:

  • It’s low in calories, at less than 50 calories per serving.
  • It’s high in fiber (8 grams in a cup of canned pumpkin).
  • It’s protective of your vision — it contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are thought to help battle macular degeneration and cataracts and it’s also chock-full of beta carotene, totaling twice the recommended amount of Vitamin A (which is super helpful for eye health).
  • All that beta carotene is also fantastic for your skin,
  • it boosts the immune system because of its Vitamin C content
  • and it is thought to help fight certain types of cancer.
  • Studies also show pumpkin is promising in the treatment of diabetes because it helps reduce blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance and boost the amount of insulin created by the body.
  • Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, which help lift serotonin levels. Serotonin is key in elevating your mood.
  • A cup of cooked pumpkin contains more potassium than a banana, which makes it an excellent post-workout choice.

I regularly use pumpkin in place of potatoes or other starchy vegetables/grains in recipes. I use it in Shepherd’s Pie, in my frittatas, and sometimes I use it to make pancakes instead of flour or oats.

So here are some pumpkin recipes to check out from around the web — most of them are gluten-free AND dairy-free, so if you’re watching your intake of those foods, these will be a must-try. My super-simple pumpkin smoothie is at the bottom.

Pumpkin seeds

Curry-spiced pumpkin seeds (Courtesy of the Real Food RN)

Savory dishes

Pumpkin chili (Courtesy of Holistically Engineered)

Pumpkin pie coconut flour pancakes (Courtesy of Real Food Outlaws)

Paleo pumpkin hummus (Paleo Mama)

Creamy pumpkin “pasta” (Courtesy of Jan’s Sushi Bar)

Paleo curry pumpkin soup (Courtesy of the Big Man’s World)

Sweet treats

(Eat in moderation! Definitely NOT low calorie)

Pumpkin spice poppers (Thanks to Rubies and Radishes)

Pumpkin cheesecake cups (Thanks to Primally Inspired)

Smoothie

Choco-Pumpkin Post-Workout SmoothieChoco-Pumpkin Post-Workout Smoothie

1 cup plain coconut water
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1/2 cup ice cubes
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (to taste)

Put all the ingredients in a blender, cover tightly, and blend till smooth. For more chocolate flavor, add some pure powdered cocoa. Optional greens boost: add a handful of kale or spinach. The accompanying picture includes the greens. ๐Ÿ˜€